Champlain Students to Premiere Films From Gambia Service Trip

On Monday, Feb. 25, Champlain students will premiere films made during a service learning trip to The Gambia. The students, who traveled over winter break, shot, edited and produced six films about women’s rights, journalism, the culture of The Gambia, and the slave trade through the history of the River Gambia.

Mariama Jallow and Absa Samba, two current Champlain students, previously worked wth NGO’s in The Gambia before coming to the college. The students worked with Champlain filmmaking student Lena Groves and local women to highlight the challenges that they face in The Gambia, as well as moments of empowerment in their communities.

Champlain College student Absa Samba

Another film focuses on media and the press through journalist Hatab Fadera. Fadera is a Gambian journalist who has spent the past 15 years working to create a more open journalistic practice in the local media. Many other journalists and press members were interviewed to show the how press freedoms have shifted throughout the years and up to present day.

The third film explores the history of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade through the history of the River Gambia. The movie uncovers a story of colonial power struggles, which culminated in the creation of a new class of Gambians and, eventually, the country’s independence.

The three other films dip into the rich cultural life in The Gambia. Pa Bobo Jabarteh, world-renowned kora player, shared his art and instrument in a profile piece. Another documents the masquerade festival and investigates why The Gambia is called “The Smiling Coast”. The students were also able to shoot the annual Fulbe festival, which illustrates the Fula culture.

The films will be premiering on Monday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. in the Alumni Auditorium.

Jessica Schultz ’19—Contributor